DOC OF THE DEAD (Alexandre O. Philippe). 81 minutes. Opens Friday (July 11). For venues and times, see Movies. Rating: NNN
Zombies have never been more popular in our culture, and Alexandre Philippe is here to find out why, chatting with the likes of George A. Romero, Simon Pegg, World War Z author Max Brooks and Walking Dead makeup artist Greg Nicotero about the mass appeal of the living dead.
The doc's first hour charts the path of the zombie from its early days as a shuffling somnambulist to the unlocking of social anxieties in Romero's Night Of The Living Dead - though that section feels like a précis of Rob Kuhns's full-length Birth Of The Living Dead last year.
Philippe and co-writer Chad Herschberger then explore the zombie's re-emergence as horror's monster of choice in the early 2000s, using Danny Boyle's 28 Days Later... to exemplify the fast-zombie trend that culminated in last year's big-screen adaptation of World War Z. (Zack Snyder's watershed remake of Romero's own Dawn Of The Dead goes unmentioned.)
As in The People Vs. George Lucas, Philippe and Herschberger are satisfied with a superficial look at the themes they raise, preferring quips to insight and abandoning their thesis to pander to genre fans with clips of zombie walks and zombie weddings.
Needs more brains, I guess.